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Fall Grass Seeding Tips

September 12, 2014

These are my six tips for planting grass seed this fall:

  1. Cheap seed will give you problems down the road.  Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed blends are sold for different lawn situations using the best available grass varieties.  Old seed that has been stored in a garage causing it to experience big temperature changes will germinate poorly. It is best to buy fresh seed and use it all that season.
  2. Rough up the top inch or so of your soil.  The idea is to make sure the seed is in good contact with soil and that it is no deeper than the top 1/8 inch. If you are seeding into an existing lawn, a slit-seeder can be rented to help the seed come in contact with the soil without damaging your grass.  If you do not use a slit-seeder, you can expect some of the grass seed to find its way to the soil and live after germination, however a good bit of the seed will sprout without finding soil for the roots to spread before drying out.
  3. After you spread the seed, feed with Scotts Starter Lawn Food, and then make one pass across the newly seeded area with an upside down leaf rake (tines pointed up). Note: this is a leaf rake, not a garden rake. . It is ok to still see some seed on the surface.
  4. Keep your new seed moist until your new grass is established. Fall seeding germinates faster than spring planted grass because the soil is warmer. With colder spring soil you can sometimes count on 2 weeks or more before you see new grass spouts. In fall this time can be cut down to 7 to 14 days. Also understand that no matter when you seed, you will generally see some of the grass seed come up a week or so before the rest of your seed germinates because of the different varieties in the seed blend and their different germination times. This is why it is important to keep up your watering a week or so after you begin to seed new seedlings.  If you suspect you will have a difficult time keeping the soil moist, a thin layer of straw can be spread over the seed.
  5. Anytime you use a weed killer and plan to seed, check the label to see what the waiting period is before you can plant grass seed or how long you need to wait to kill weeds after seeding.
  6. A feeding of Scotts Turf Builder one month after seeding will also help your new grass fill-in thin areas.

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  1. Kathy permalink

    hi I live in Mass and have seen small holes I assume from a critter looking for grubs. Is now a good time to put down grub X for next summers grubs ? It is mid Sept and already cold here.
    Thanks so much

    • Hi Kathy
      GrubEx prevents grubs that hatch from eggs laid in late summer by adult beetles, so it needs to be applied before the eggs are laid. May and June are the best months to apply. It is too late to apply for this year. If you have active grubs in your lawn now that hatched in late summer, ask your local garden center to recommend a grub control product that provides 24 hour control. Scotts does not sell this type of product. Good luck with your lawn.

      • kathyboylen permalink

        Thanks so much

        Sent from my HTC

  2. I live in the state of Washington. I moved here about 20 yrs .ago. I do not know what type of grass I have in my lawn..
    What is the difference between regular turf builder fertilizer and the winter

    • Hi Frank Padelsky
      If you live east of the Cascades you likely have ky bluegrass and/or a turf-type tall fescue. If you live west of the Cascades you likely have a blend of fine fescue, perennial ryegrass and or ky bluegrass. Some older lawns west of the cascades also have bentgrass. In any event all of the grass types grown in Washington state are called cool-season grasses and they really like a couple of fall feedings. The Turf Builder WinterGuard lawn food has extra potassium, which is useful this time of year. However, if you already have Turf Builder in your garage, by all means use it as one or both of your feedings as the primary nutrient in both products in nitrogen.

  3. Tim permalink

    I live in Columbus Ohio. I just had my entire yard/grass removed because a new septic system was installed. The septic company delivered 10 truck loads of “ok” topsoil, lots of roots and rocks mixed in, to cover the entire yard (7,200 sq feet). I live in the woods and expect the leaves to drop shortly (next week to 2 weeks). The leaves will cover the entire yard and will be very thick/deep (roughly 1-2 inches in areas). Should I wait to seed until spring or seed now and hope for the best?

    • Hi Tim
      Sounds like you may be better off to wait till spring to seed. Depending on how fast the cold weather sets in (your average first frost date is around Oct 10), your new grass seed would not have much time to germinate before your heavy layer of tree leaves come down. This will also allow you more time to remove the roots and rocks this fall (larger than golf ball size) and also to allow the soil to settle. You should target to seed in early April and plan to use Starter Lawn Food with Weed Preventer when you seed.

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